Pallotti valedictorian headed to Gemstone Honors at College Park
By Melanie Dzwonchyk
When schools were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Vincent Pallotti High student Ademide Adeyemo, 18, discovered a potential future career.
Adeyemo, the daughter of Laurel residents Adesola and Temitope Adeyemo, graduated in May as class valedictorian. She admitted she watched the mystery show “Criminal Minds” a lot to pass the time while staying home during the pandemic.
“‘Criminal Minds’ uses a lot of psychology,” Adeyemo said. “I decided what I wanted to do: understand people more.”
Adeyemo is now headed to the University of Maryland (UMD) where she plans to major in psychology on a pre-med track. She was accepted into the university’s selective Gemstone Honors Program, a multidisciplinary four-year research program for students across all majors.
Adeyemo said she’s also excited about UMD’s study abroad program, and while she said she doesn’t know where she wants to travel, she looks forward to “immersing myself in another culture.”
During the pandemic, which hit during her sophomore and junior years, Adeyemo went months at a time without seeing friends. Having more chances to attend school in person in her senior year was “great for me, socially,” she said.
The four-year volleyball player and swim team member said she was hospitalized numerous times as a freshman while battling chronic asthma and allergies. But she noted that the smaller class sizes at Pallotti High allowed teachers to give her individualized help, something she said she benefited from. She credits her ability to stay “on top of things” with school work, asking for extensions and communicating with her teachers as key to keeping her grades up.
Adeyemo gained valuable insight through her hospitalizations, though. She said that working with doctors allowed her to see, through a patient’s eyes, what can be involved in a medical career.
Studying psychology and making plans for medical school might also be in her genes: Adeyemo has an aunt and two grandparents who are doctors. “If they can do it and survive, then I can do it and survive,” she said.
Over the summer, Adeyemo is competing with the Russett Sharks swim team in the Prince–Mont Swim League, a summer program with swimmers from the District and seven Maryland counties.
Looking back at her time at Pallotti High, Adeyemo said one class that stands out was AP calculus, which she took in her senior year. The class, with teacher Jeremy Rheam, was made up of all female students.
“I thought it was very, very cool,” Adeyemo said. “Pallotti’s math brains were all girls.”